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Talbots posts bigger-than-expected loss; chief creative officer out

BY Marianne Wilson

Hingham, Mass. — Talbots posted a bigger-than-expected second-quarter loss on Wednesday, largely due to increased markdowns. The retailer also said that chief creative officer Michael Smaldone has departed the company, effective immediately.

Talbots reported a net loss of $37.3 million for the period ended July 30, compared with a profit of $941,000 a year earlier. Revenue fell 10% to $271.1 million from $300.7 million. Same-stores sales fell 10.4%.

Talbots said its sales and traffic so far in the third quarter are down and anticipates its high levels of promotions and markdowns will continue.

The company’s decision to part ways with Smaldone was prompted by ongoing frustration with lackluster consumer reception to Talbots’ merchandise. The retailer said it is looking for a replacement for Smaldone, and that president and CEO Trudy Sullivan is assuming the chief creative duties until the search is done.

In August, Talbots announced that it had adopted a poison-pill plan. The news came shortly after private equity group Sycamore Partners LP revealed a 9.9% stake in the company and hinted at a potential buyout.

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Zale names CIO

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Zale Corporation announced that Brad Furry has been named SVP, CIO. Prior to joining Zale, he spent 21 years at The Neiman Marcus Group, most recently as VP enterprise services.

Furry will have responsibility for all information technology strategy and operations functions throughout the company.

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Stride Rite launches Sesame Street Collection

BY CSA STAFF

LEXINGTON, Mass. — Stride Rite Children’s Group announced the launch of the Sesame Street by Stride Rite Collection.

The collection utilizes Stride Rite’s branded Scientifically Tested Everyday Proven (STEP) System, which helps customers find age-appropriate footwear for their children.

For babies, the Sesame Street Collection will feature the charactersElmo, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster in ultra-soft flexible leather designs. For children learning to walk, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Ernie will be incorporated in shoes featuring ultra-flexible rubber outsoles and rounded edges. For toddlers, Oscar the Grouch, with Slimey, and Abby Cadabby designs will be featured on shoes with an hourglass outsole and hook and loop straps.

"Families have put their trust in Stride Rite since 1919 to develop shoes that foster healthy foot development and we are excited to announce our partnership with Sesame Workshop, a four-decade old organization that shares our tradition of providing a healthy message to preschoolers and their parents," said Sharon John, president of Stride Rite Children’s Group. "The Sesame Street by Stride Rite collection combines the beloved Sesame Street friends that kids love and the Stride Rite quality and comfort moms trust."

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